• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



Macromedia Dreamweaver has been the market leader in visual HTML editors for years, combining ease of use, power, and unusually high quality code writing. But since version 1 was first released, the Web has changed. Over the years, numerous technologies, many developed quite independently of the Web, have emerged as critical Web authoring tools, including JavaScript, databases, SQL, Java, WML, WSDL, cascading style sheets, XML, XSLT, CGI scripting, and above all a group of new server languages that enable developers to turn Web pages into powerful, data-driven, interactive Web applications: these include Macromedia ColdFusion, Microsoft ASP and ASP.NET, as well as JSP and PHP. Without compromising its ease of use or the quality of code it has always generated, Macromedia Dreamweaver has absorbed these technologies, not only making it possible to work with each of them in isolation, but also making it possible to build sophisticated applications combining these technologies.

But while Dreamweaver has managed to keep up with the rapid evolution of Web technologies, many developers have not fared so well. HTML, image editing, and cascading style sheets are one thing: document object models, for loops, relational data, concatenation, recordsets, cookies, and methods are something else. Yet for many of us, our careers depend on our ability to make the jump from static HTML to full-fledged dynamic Web applications—and that means gaining competence with several of the technologies listed in the previous paragraph.

That's where Macromedia Dreamweaver MX Dynamic Applications: Advanced Training From the Source comes in. In a series of hands-on tutorials, you'll build competence in working with two of today's hottest dynamic application development languages: Microsoft ASP (VBScript) and Macromedia ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). Along the way, you'll also learn about database design, writing SQL queries, cascading style sheets, the new XHTML standard, and more.

The book takes a novel strategy of mixing enough hand-coding for you to become competent with programming in these languages, while also providing extensive coverage of the dialog- and wizard-based server behaviors and pre-built application objects that Dreamweaver provides to speed up application development. The goal is not simply to build dynamic applications, but for you to gain a deep understanding about how they work, even when you are relying on GUI-based server behaviors.

The curriculum of this course should take you 20 to 24 hours to complete and includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: The Present and the Future

Lesson 2: Upgrading to XHTML

Lesson 3: Creating the Presentation Layer

Lesson 4: Dynamic Web Sites

Lesson 5: Passing Data Between Pages

Lesson 6: Sending Email From a Web Form

Lesson 7: Building a Tour Price Calculator

Lesson 8: Databases on the Web

Lesson 9: Completing the Price Calculator

Lesson 10: Filtering and Displaying Data

Lesson 11: Building the Tour Descriptions

Lesson 12: Building Search Interfaces

Lesson 13: Authenticating Users

Lesson 14: Managing Content With Forms

Lesson 15: Building Update Pages

Lesson 16: Hand-coding a Basic CMS

Using This Book

Each lesson begins with an overview of the lesson's content and learning objectives, and is divided into tasks that teach you how to use the tools, scripts, and objects that relate to the theme of the lesson. These tasks range from designing pages visually to hand-coding ASP and ColdFusion scripts in the code editor. Web site development is both a creative and analytical process, and Dreamweaver's two modes—design view and code view—accommodate this perfectly. In the course of the book, you'll spend time in each.

Developing dynamic sites in Dreamweaver is a combination of working visually and knowing when (and how) to code.

Each lesson also includes these special features:

  • Tips: Shortcuts for carrying out common tasks and ways to use the skills you're learning to solve common problems.

  • Notes: Extra background and advanced techniques for those who are ready to absorb additional information.

  • New vocabulary that will come in handy as you familiarize yourself with the concepts and techniques of writing code to create dynamic Web applications.

  • Alternative methods for executing commands. Menu commands are shown like this: Menu > Command > Subcommand. Keyboard shortcuts (when available) are shown in parentheses after the first step in which they can be used; a plus sign between the names of keys means you press keys simultaneously: for example, Ctrl+Z means that you should press the Ctrl and Z keys at the same time.

All of the files you will need to complete the course are included on the CD-ROM. Each lesson has its own folder, with two additional folders inside: Start and Complete. Start files are those you use as you progress through each lesson. The Complete files show how the files should appear at the end of the lesson. Each of these folders contains two versions of the site: one version for ASP users (in a folder called, "newland"), and one version for ColdFusion users (in a folder called, "newland_cf").

If You Get Stuck

One frustrating aspect of learning dynamic Web site development is the errors that you will encounter. A dynamic Web site is typically the fusion of many technologies, and some of them, especially ASP and ColdFusion themselves, depend on the configuration of the server. If the server (or database) is not configured correctly, you will see error messages even if you entered all the code correctly in Dreamweaver. Worse, the error messages that you see are often hard to interpret (especially those in ASP), and in some cases, misleading.

The following are some strategies you can use to resolve these problems:

Use the files in the lesson's Complete folder. One reason these are provided is so that you can use them if something goes wrong with your files. You can also print out the code for your file and the one in the Complete folder for a comparison.

Consult Macromedia's TechNote on common server errors. Though created initially for Dreamweaver UltraDev, the predecessor to Dreamweaver MX, this page contains a listing of some of the most common server errors and their solutions: http://www.macromedia.com/support/ultradev/ts/documents/common_server_errors.htm

Verify that the page you are testing has all of the data that it needs. Some pages depend on the presence of form or querystring/URL variables to work. For example, a SQL query on a detail page might filter database records based on a querystring or URL variable that it is expecting from a related page. If you test that detail page directly, without going through the related page first, the data ASP or ColdFusion is expecting won't be present, resulting in an error. Always test starting from an application's starting page, rather than a page in the middle of the process.

Know when to move on. While you should try to resolve any errors that you encounter, don't beat your head against the wall. The goal of the book is really for you to learn dynamic Web site development, and not literally to build every aspect of the Newland Tours site. If you get stuck, at a certain point, it's better to swap in the file from the Complete folder and move on.

Try to determine whether the problem is due to code or configuration. With static HTML development, if a page doesn't look right, it's almost always because of something in your code. When they see a server error, many beginners assume that they made a mistake in their code, and while that is possible, it's just as likely that there is a configuration problem, such as the wrong permissions, a service that's not available, or a missing DSN. The easiest way to test is to swap in the file from the Complete folder—if it doesn't work either, then your code is probably fine. Take up the matter with your server administrator.

Check the book's Web site. Because ASP and ColdFusion errors are so common and hard to troubleshoot, the author and the editorial team took extra pains to ensure that the code in the book and on the CD-ROM are bug free. However, no book is completely without errors, and if we learn of any, we will post them on the book's page at http://www.peachpit.com.

Ask your questions in the appropriate Macromedia Dreamweaver forums. Macromedia has a number of free forums where anyone can go to ask questions or search previous posts. The forums are frequented by Macromedia tech support staff and Dreamweaver/ASP/ColdFusion veterans and gurus, and you can often get an answer to your questions within a matter of minutes. To access the forums, visit http://www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/ts/documents/dream_newsgrp.htm. I will visit the Dreamweaver Application Development newsgroup periodically and pay special attention to posts that reference this book in the title. I cannot guarantee to provide support for every problem every reader might encounter, but the community in that forum is sufficient to help most people get what they need.

Macromedia Training from the Source

Each book in the Macromedia Training from the Source series includes a complete curriculum that has been reviewed by Macromedia's own product support teams. The lesson plans were developed by some of Macromedia's most successful trainers and refined through long experience to meet students' needs. We believe that Macromedia Training from the Source books offer the best possible training for Macromedia programs. What distinguishes this Advanced Training from the Source book from a standard Training from the Source book is that it offers more: more conceptual information, more in-depth material, and more explanations—plus it assumes more knowledge on your part.

The instructions in this book are designed for those experienced in the development of static Web pages and sites using Dreamweaver.

The lessons assume the following:

  • You have basic familiarity with your operating system, including using the menu system and file management.

  • Dreamweaver MX is installed, and your system meets the requirements needed to run it.

  • You are familiar with working in Dreamweaver, including the use of the Property inspector, various panels, and the main menu. You should also understand the site definition process and Site panel.

  • You understand how HTML code works, and you are familiar with its most common tags and attributes, such as the <p>, <table>, <tr>, <td>, <ol>, <ul>, <h1>, <h2>, and <img> tags. You should also understand common HTML concepts, such as absolute versus relative links, validly nested tags, and the difference between the document head and body.

What You Will Learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Update an existing site so that it uses maintainable, standards-compliant XHTML and CSS code.

  • Understand the limitations of the HTTP protocol, and how ASP and ColdFusion work with it to enable Web applications.

  • Pass data between pages and make data persist over time, using form, querystring/URL, cookie, session, and application variables.

  • Collect and process information entered by users via Web forms.

  • Validate data entered into forms using both client-side (JavaScript) and server-side (ASP or ColdFusion) code.

  • Write code to evaluate expressions and perform simple mathematical calculations.

  • Connect your Web site to a database, so that it displays database contents.

  • Filter data retrieved from a database.

  • Build search interfaces that enable users to access only the information they need.

  • Authenticate users and restrict access to pages.

  • Build content management systems that enable site owners to maintain Web content using Web forms, rather than HTML editors and FTP.

  • Hand-code common ASP and ColdFusion scripts that you can reuse in future projects.

  • Learn core SQL statements, enabling you to build pages that interact with data in sophisticated ways.

  • Control the flow of scripts, using conditional statements and loops.

  • Work with Dreamweaver's server behaviors, Recordset dialog, and pre-built application objects to rapidly develop dynamic Web applications.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver MX (In case you don't own a copy of Dreamweaver MX, we've provided a 30-day trial version on the CD-ROM.)

  • Intel Pentium II processor or equivalent 300+ MHz

  • Windows 98, 2000, NT, ME or XP

  • Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater

  • 96 MB of available RAM (128 MB recommended)

  • 275 MB available disk space

  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 × 600 resolution (1024 × 768, millions of colors recommended)

  • Either (A) access to a server, whether it's a locally installed copy of PWS or IIS (which come with Windows) or a Windows Web server on a network or via FTP (for ASP users); or (B) a locally installed copy of Macromedia ColdFusion MX or a ColdFusion server on a network or via FTP (ColdFusion users).

  • RDS logon capability (ColdFusion users only).

  • Internet access (for Lesson 6 only)

  • Microsoft Access (recommended but not required)

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver MX (In case you don't own a copy of Dreamweaver MX, we've provided a 30-day trial version on the CD-ROM.)

  • Power Mac G3 or better

  • Mac OS 9.1 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.1 or higher

  • Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 4.0 or later

  • 96 MB of RAM (128 MB recommended)

  • 275 MB available disk space

  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 × 600 resolution (1024 × 768, millions of colors recommended. Thousands of colors required for OS X.)

  • Access to a Windows Web server on a network or via FTP (for ASP users); or a ColdFusion server on a network or via FTP (ColdFusion users).

  • RDS logon capability (ColdFusion users only)

  • Internet access (for Lesson 6 only)

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint